Mark 2: 1-2
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.
Psalm 63: 1
You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
Think about the sort of people who attract big crowds today: rock stars, movie stars, footballers, celebrities.
Two thousand years ago a 30 year old Jewish carpenter was attracting the same sort of crowds everywhere he went. He didn’t have to advertise or put up posters, he didn’t have a website (Jesus.com) or Facebook or Twitter so people could follow his every move.
Ordinary people talked about him in the streets and marketplace. News spread rapidly by word of mouth. When Jesus was in the area, you stopped whatever you were doing and ran out to see him. He had sell-out crowds everywhere. We read it time and time again in the Gospels. There was something about the presence of Jesus that was almost magnetic, people were irresistibly drawn to Him.
And I believe that when we truly experience and encounter the presence of Jesus it still has the same effect today.
People are drawn to the presence of Jesus, when you experience it you never want to leave it. There’s nothing else like it.
Preaching, programmes, great church services and nice buildings - all of those things are important. But nothing is as important in our lives and our churches as having the presence of Jesus.
When people come into our churches they should experience something they find nowhere else in the world. In fact when people spend time with you, they should experience something of that same presence, because you have been in His presence. You carry His presence. And when people experience His presence for real – they always want more. It’s irresistible.
I remember, not long ago, talking to recovering heroin addict who’d wandered into church one Sunday and I asked him what he thought of the service. He struggled to put words on it, but he said there was something different in church, he described it as a 'clean presence' that he hadn’t experienced anywhere else.
There is nothing to compare with the presence of Jesus.
Wherever Jesus went, things happened, there was power and there were changed lives.
Wherever the presence of Jesus is, the power of Jesus is also there. Wherever the presence of Jesus is, there is healing, miracles, lives transformed, people are delivered and set free.
So the question is: How do we get more of his presence?
We get hungry for Him. We seek for more of Him. We worship and cry out for more.
Nothing draws His presence like those who passionately pursue Him.
Like the Psalmist, we hunger and thirst for Him, we long for Him, we set our hearts on seeking Him above all else:
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat." (Matt 5: 6 MSG)